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What is the state of our environment?

Australia’s fifth State of the Environment report has just been released. Compiled every five years, the report provides a powerful roadmap authored by independent scientists.

Rarely do so many leading minds come together to give a nationwide and up-to-date view on the state of our environment and publicly tell us what they think needs to happen. As philanthropists, it provides the vision for our future and an opportunity to consider how we can make a real difference.

Be challenged, inspired, and motivated alongside like minded folks at AEGN’s 2017 conference.

Topics will include:

  • The big environmental challenges for the next five years
  • Where philanthropy is best allocated
  • Where have we made progress and why?
  • The latest in climate, coasts, marine, biodiversity, inland waters and the built environment
  • How we can collaborate and amplify our impact

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*Please note – this event is for Grantmakers not Grantseekers

Earlybird special has been extended!  It now closes on Friday 7 April at 5pm AEST — save $70

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Tues 2 May, 5.30 – 9.00pm – Conference dinner – Taxi Kitchen, Federation Square

Wed 3 May, 8.15am – 6.30pm – Conference Day 1  (includes Cocktail event)

Thurs 4 May, 8.15am – 4.45pm – Conference Day 2

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**Please note this is a draft program and may change**


Tuesday 2 May 2017
5:30 – 9:00pm Conference dinner
Conserving Our Natural Capital  – What will it cost?

We know that it is possible to have a healthy environment alongside economic prosperity – but we are not there yet. What innovative financial solutions could help us achieve this? What might the role of philanthropy be?


Peter Cosier, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists

Wednesday 3 May 2017
8:15am – 8:45am Registration
8:45am – 9:15am Welcome to Country
Introduction from Amanda Martin, CEO
9:15am – 9:45am

A vision for our future

Be inspired by a powerful vision of the future that philanthropy can help create.

Speakers will include:

Kirsty Albion, Co-director, Australian Youth Climate Coalition and team member of Project Survival Pacific

Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA)

9:45am – 11:00am State of the Environment: let the science speak
Panel Discussion with Q&A

Leading experts discuss Australia’s scorecard on the major issues facing our environment in 2017 and the top priorities for the future.

Moderated by:

Mark Horstman, Science Journalist

Speakers will include:

Professor Brendan Gleeson, Director, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute

Professor Lesley Hughes, Distinguished Professor of Biology and Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Macquarie University and Councillor, Climate Council of Australia

Professor Ian Lowe AO, Emeritus Professor in the School of Science at Griffith University 

Professor Jessica Meuwig, Director, Centre for Marine Futures

11:00am – 11:30am Morning tea
11:30am – 12:45pm Bold ideas for action
Panel then roundtable discussion

To do justice to the challenges, we need bolder action and more ambitious plans.  Australia’s best regarded environmental leaders reflect on priorities and opportunities where resources will make a strategic difference.

Moderated by:

Mark Horstman, Science Journalist

Speakers will include:

John Hepburn, Executive Director, The Sunrise Project

Doug Humann AM, Chairman of Landcare Australia

Kelly O’Shannassy, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Conservation Foundation

Dr Barry Traill, Director, Outback to Oceans Program, Pew Charitable Trusts

12:45pm – 1:15pm Meet fellow environmental funders, share stories, collaborate and have fun!
1:15pm – 2:15pm Lunchtime
2:15pm – 3:15pm

Fit for purpose – stronger leadership and organisations

What is the latest thinking on how to build leadership and organisational capacity for those on the frontline of delivering change? What do environmental leaders say about how philanthropy might empower, skill and resource them?

Moderated by:

Elena Mogilevski, Program Manager, The Myer Foundation


Esther Abram, Giving Green Manager, AEGN

Fabian Dattner, Cultural/change strategist, facilitator, teacher, ethicist, author and social entrepreneur

3:15pm – 3:40pm

The biggest campaign of 2017


Geoffrey Cousins, President, Australian Conservation Foundation

John Hepburn, Executive Director, The Sunrise Project

3:40pm – 4:10pm Afternoon tea
4:10pm – 4:55pm Big versus small, old versus new

Agile new-generation organisations are the way of the future to achieve environmental change.An informative, passionate and fun debate on this topic – with audience participation.

Moderated by:

Sean Dooley, Melbourne author, conservationist and birdwatcher

4:55pm – 5:00pm Wrap up
5:00pm – 6:30pm Drinks and finish
Thursday 4 May 2017
8:15am – 8:45am New Registrations
8:45am – 9:00am Welcome and Introduction
9:00am – 9:45am

Environmental politics: a global perspective

US philanthropy and the environment in the age of Trump and what does this mean for Australia?

Moderated by:

John Spierings, Executive Officer, Reichstein Foundation


Lisa Abbott, Coordinator, KFTC’s Empower Kentucky project (USA)

Professor David Schlosberg, Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of Sydney and Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute

9:45am – 10:30am Funders’ forum: how am I responding
Panel discussion

The issues we face require a strategic and significant response by philanthropy. Join Sue Mathews and friends as they discuss their funding.

Speakers will include:

Sue Mathews, Mullum Trust

10:30am – 10:45am Join us for the launch of AEGN’s bold vision for the future and find out how you can help.
10:45am – 11:15am Morning tea
11:15am – 12:15pm


Can the UN Sustainable Development Goals provide us with a vision for the future and a pathway to get there?


Anne Grindrod, AEGN Board


Professor John Thwaites, Chair Monash Sustainable Development Institute and Co-Chair UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Leadership Council

Marion Verles, CEO, The Gold Standard Foundation

12:15pm – 1:15pm Climate Impacts everything
Panel discussion

Find out how the climate movement is building strength across different sectors. Hear how climate change is influencing the thinking of nature campaigners.

Moderated by:

Anna Rose, Innovation Fellow, The Myer Foundation

Speakers will include:

Joshua Gilbert, Co-Founder, Australian Farmers for Climate Action

Jane Hutchinson, CEO, Tasmanian Land Conservancy

Alex Rafalowicz, Movement Strategist, Climate Action Network Australia

1:15pm – 2:00pm Lunchtime

2:00pm – 2:45pm

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The role of philanthropy in supporting economic transitions

Discover how we can transition to a society that supports justice, equity and well-being. Learn about case studies from around the world.

Speakers will include:

Justin Maxson, Executive Director, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation (USA)

Mark Randazzo, EDGE Funders (USA)

2:45pm – 3:15pm Afternoon tea
3:15pm – 4:30pm Streamed Sessions

Session One

Reversing the decline of nature: a critical moment in time

Learn about recent biodiversity case studies and the latest on funding strategies.


The Hon Bob Debus AM, Chair, The Great Eastern Ranges Initiative

Jane Hutchinson, CEO, Tasmanian Land Conservancy

Victoria Marles, CEO, Trust for Nature

Professor Jon Altman, Deakin University

Rob Purves, Purves Environmental Fund

Andrew Cox, CEO, Invasive Species Council

Jessica Panegyres, National Nature Campaigner, The Wilderness Society

Session Two

Water on the driest continent on earth

Case studies and strategies for funding in water.


Dr Jamie Pittock, Associate Professor in the Fenner School of Environment and Society at The Australian National University

Session Three

Transitioning coal communities

Hear from experts on the Appalachian Transition at the conclusion of their tour of the Latrobe and Hunter Valleys. What are the opportunities and challenges for funders interested in supporting coal communities to transition their economies?


Lisa Abbott, Coordinator, KFTC’s Empower Kentucky project (USA)

Justin Maxson, Executive Director, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation (USA)

4:30pm – 4:45pm Wrap up and next steps


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